Hundreds of thousands of EU citizens living in the UK have no guarantee that they will be able to stay, because the Government has broken its promise to give status to everyone who is not a serious criminal. New immigration rules that came into effect in August bar Home Office officials from granting settled status to anyone subject to removal decision for not exercising EU treaty rights. This affects students, stay-at-home partners of British citizens, retired people, and others who do not have private health insurance, as they are deemed not lawfully resident.
The Government’s view is that they are not exercising treaty rights and are liable to have a removal decision made against them by immigration enforcement. If that happens, they will not get settled status, will become undocumented and subject to the Hostile Environment, immigration detention and removal. It is likely many will be able to stay, but it seems the system will be a lottery based on the whim of immigration enforcement. This is a far cry from the user-friendly, efficient and transparent scheme the Government claims it is creating.